Down to their final out, Concordia rallies to split with Morningside
After falling 1-0 in the opener, the Concordia University, Nebraska, softball found themselves down 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh in game two.
Junior Amber Topil (Seward, Neb.) stepped in to rally her team with a game-tying RBI single as Concordia went on to claim a split with a 2-1 win in 10 innings in the nightcap on Wednesday, April 25.
Following Wednesday's split the Bulldogs are 17-17 on the season and 11-7 in Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) games. Morningside is 22-18 overall and 9-9 in GPAC play.
Game One: Morningside 1, Concordia 0
Concordia senior Nicole Sempek (Columbus, Neb.) and Morningside's Jordan Johnson put on a clinic of resilience in the opening contest as the two starters matched one another inning-by-inning.
Sempek allowed one hit in each of the first four innings, including a one-out triple in the third, but did not allow a run.
Johnson worked around a walk in first, a double and a single in the second, and a second and third one-out jam in the fourth.
Morningside was retired in order for the first time in the top of the fifth as the Bulldogs put runners on first and second with only one out, but Johnson induced a weak fly out and a tapper back to the mound to send the game to the sixth, still scoreless.
The Mustangs' offense finally broke through as a one-out single by Courtney Vaughn, a sacrifice and an RBI bloop single from Kati Steffen.
The Morningside seemed to take the wind out of Concordia as the Bulldogs went down in order for the first time in the sixth inning and followed suit it their final frame.
Johnson moved to 13-7 on the season with the win as she allowed five hits and three walks in the complete game shutout.
Sempek surrendered the one run on six hits and recorded six strikeouts over seven innings.
Game Two: Concordia 2, Morningside 1 (10)
The Mustangs carried the momentum from their victory in game one into the first inning of game two as Morningside scored an unearned run on a one-out double by Taylor Michaelson, a fielding error that sent Michaelson to third and an RBI bloop single from Mackenzie Neely.
Concordia seemed ready to tie the game or take the lead in the bottom of the third as the Bulldogs loaded the bases with just one out. Unfortunately sophomore Shelby Morose (Claremore, Okla.) lined back to Mustang pitcher Emma Remy for the second out, then Topil was doubled off third to end the inning.
The Bulldog offense sputtered through the next three frames. Finally with one out in the seventh, freshman Molly Madsen (Thornton, Colo.) gave the team a little life with a single up the middle. A fly out from senior Mikaela Klein (Grand Island, Neb.) put Concordia's back to the wall. As you might expect a Bulldog to do, the team came out fighting. Junior Nicole Mapes (Greeley, Colo.) punched a single up the middle to put runners at first and second, then head coach Frank Greene lifted Madsen for pinch runner, sophomore Natalie Jeppesen (Pleasant Dale, Neb.). After falling behind in the count, 1-2, Topil fouled two pitches off, then smacked a single into right field. Jeppesen slid into home as the ball got away from Neely to tie the game at 1-1.
The score remained tied heading into the tenth inning, sending the game to international tiebreaker rules. Morningside began the tenth by placing a runner at second. A sacrifice by shortstop Emily Wassom sent Molly Brockamp to third with one out. Concordia starter, sophomore Amanda Beeson (Waverly, Neb.), showed her mettle with her sixth and seventh strikeouts to ended the Mustangs' threat.
Concordia took full advantage of the opportunity in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Amanda Baldwin (Wilber, Neb.) began the inning at second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Regan Doiel (Millard, Neb.), then scored on an RBI single off the bat of Morose.
Beeson authored the best performance of the day in victory, allowing one run on sixth hits in 10 innings for the win (5-10).
Remy was a hard luck loser, falling to 8-12 on the season. She allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits and two walks.
Concordia wraps up the regular season on Saturday, April 28 as the Bulldogs host Dakota Wesleyan in a doubleheader at 2 p.m.